From indulgent éclairs and delicate mille feuille to tender madeleines, these French cake recipes will transport you to the heart of a Parisian pâtisserie!
Made with love, precision, and carefully selected ingredients, these cakes are magnificent works of art.
French cakes are some of the most sought-after baked goods in the world.
While they may take a bit of time, patience, and practice to perfect, making them at home is more than possible.
And yes, the resulting masterpiece is more than worth it.
So if you’re searching for a spectacularly exquisite dessert, you can’t beat these French cake recipes!
10 Most Popular “Gâteaux” From France (Easy French Cakes)
Let’s start things off with something easy – French butter cake!
This delectable delight is strikingly similar to my favorite Kentucky butter cake.
But here, it’s flavored with almond extract and made extra moist with Greek yogurt.
And then, it’s bathed in a generous brushing of sweet butter sauce, intensifying that rich flavor even more.
The cake is decadent as-is, but for extra pizazz, finish it off with a dusting of powdered sugar.
This cake will dazzle your eyes and ignite your taste buds with its beauty and sensational taste and texture.
This stunning treat consists of three layers of caramelized puff pastry filled with rich custard and topped off with fresh berries.
Though this mille feuille (‘mil-foy’) cake looks intimidatingly intricate to make, it’s actually quite simple.
Just grab some store-bought puff pastry, and you’re halfway done!
Bûche de Noël (‘boosh-duh-no-el’) translates to “Log of Christmas,” otherwise known as a Yule Log.
It features a light chocolate sponge rolled into a log with whipped cream or chocolate frosting for the filling.
This classic holiday treat is often finished with ganache or chocolate frosting and meringue mushrooms.
Every bite of the log-shaped sweet will put you into the holiday spirit.
Whether served plain or spruced up with cranberries and blueberries, this cake will make a perfect addition to your festive spread.
French Charlotte Russe Cake is an elaborately constructed dessert that’s almost too pretty to eat.
This version consists of a sponge cake base filled with raspberry mousse and encased in ladyfingers.
With its alluring presentation and exquisite flavors, it’s no wonder it’s one of the most popular French cakes in the world.
The traditional Fraisier Cake is a scrumptious summer dessert that’s bursting with fresh strawberries.
You’ll make a Genoise sponge, which is a little like angel food cake in that you whip the eggs until thick, and then gently fold in the flour and fat until smooth.
But where angel food cake calls for egg whites, Genoise uses whole eggs, giving it a much richer finish.
Brushed with sweet strawberry syrup and filled with diplomat cream, it’s sweet, tangy, and super pretty.
Marjolaine is a cake made with layers of nutty meringue or dacquoise (‘dah-kwaaz’) sandwiched with a buttercream filling.
It is then topped with chocolate or caramel ganache before serving.
This cake is often served during the Christmas holidays or marriage feasts, in particular, giving it an extra special significance.
Baba au Rhum is a light and moist yeasted cake soaked in rum sauce and brushed with glaze.
Need I say more?
The base of the cake can also be studded with currants or raisins, giving it added texture and sweetness.
It bursts with a delicious array of sweet and boozy flavors, perfect during the holidays.
Financiers (‘fee-non-see-ay’) are exceptionally buttery, moist, and dense cakes.
Made with almond meal, egg whites, butter, and honey, they have a pretty unique flavor and texture.
Denser than other traditional cakes, the Financier is perfect to pair with coffee or tea.
This recipe makes mini muffin-shaped versions of the traditionally rectangular cake. So they’re ideal for parties.
Gâteau Basque (‘ga-toe bask’) is a scrumptious dessert with a flaky round pastry base filled with lightly sweetened custard or fruit preserves.
It has two layers of pastry dough separated by the creamy filling. So it’s basically my dream come true.
Sprinkled with powdered sugar, Gâteau Basque is fabulous enjoyed alone or paired with fresh berries and cream.
Best of all, it’s pretty and delectable, yet deceptively simple to make.
Fiadone-style cheesecake is one of the easiest cheesecakes to make. And you’ll only need four simple ingredients: ricotta cheese, eggs, lemon, and sugar.
That simple batter transforms into an incredibly rich cake with a wonderful balance of flavors.
The cake is best paired with a sweet cherry coulis served on top or on the side.
Kouign-Amann (‘queen-ah-mahn’) is a ridiculously delicious French pastry with a caramelized exterior.
It features layers upon layers of delicate dough filled with sugar and butter, sealed in like a laminated croissant.
The dough is folded multiple times, making it exceptionally flaky and heavenly.
The exterior caramelizes when cooked, giving it a golden brown glaze and a delightful outer crunch.
Once you try Kouign-Amann, you’ll never go back to plain old croissants.
One of my absolute favorite pastries is the French canelé (‘can-a-lay’). And it’s not just their cylindrical shape that sets them apart.
They also have a uniquely crisp and crunchy exterior and an eggy, custardy interior.
The flavor is a combination of warm butter, caramel, honey, and rum. How amazing is that?
Every bite comforts the soul like a warm hug from an old friend. So be sure to grab two!
13. Cherry Clafoutis
Cherry Clafoutis (‘kluh-fau-tuhs’) offers a unique twist on a traditional cake.
It’s a mash-up between a cake and a custard, made by pouring batter over cherries arranged in a dish before baking.
The result is a delectably sweet treat with a lightly crisp top layer and creamy custard inside. Yum!
A croquembouche (‘crock-om-boosh’) is a pastry tower made of small choux buns held together by caramelized sugar.
Also called cream puffs, the profiteroles are stuffed with a smooth pastry creme filling.
A croquembouche tower usually takes the shape of a tree or cone and is often adorned with ribbons, flowers, and spun sugar.
The sweet treat dates back hundreds of years and has long been used to honor special occasions like birthdays and weddings.
Far Breton (‘fah-bruh-ton’) is a custard cake originating from the Brittany region in northwestern France.
It’s made of thick custard filled with rum-soaked prunes.
The custard is baked in a round mold, resulting in an incredibly creamy texture that melts in your mouth.
Like the croquembouche, this elegant dessert consists of circular choux buns filled with cream and adorned with caramel ribboned spun sugar.
It sometimes even contains a tiny tart or eclair.
Of course, this one isn’t quite as grand (or tall), making it much more manageable to recreate.
Still, this level of refinement requires dedication in both execution and obtaining the necessary ingredients.
It’s not the easiest cake to make, for sure. But it’s highly rewarding for those who give it a try.
A traditional Gugelhupf is an aromatic yeasted cake popular throughout Central Europe.
Brimming with lemon, rum, raisins, almonds, and butter, this cake definitely has a unique appeal.
The preparation involves significant proofing of the dough, which gives it a delightful flavor and light texture.
The shape of the cake – usually baked in a special kugelhupf mold – adds to its charm, as well.
Madeleines are butter cookies with a distinct scalloped shape and cake-like finish.
They may look simple, but their melt-in-your-mouth taste and texture aren’t that easy to recreate.
You’ll need to incorporate the eggs and butter into the batter very gently. This produces spectacularly soft cookies that practically dissolve on your tongue.
A visit to Paris would not be complete without a taste of the decadent and delicious Paris-Brest.
This ring-shaped choux pastry is filled with luscious hazelnut praline mousseline and topped with flaky almonds.
The perfect balance of crispy pastry and smooth mousseline cream will make you fall in love with Paris all over again.
Want to experience French flair in the convenience of your own kitchen? This French apple cake is the perfect recipe.
Featuring apple slices in a rich, rum-infused batter, it’s sweet, tender, and perfect with a cup of coffee.
Top it off with caramel sauce or a dusting of powdered sugar, and you’ve got yourself a scrumptious French dessert with minimal effort.
Galette des Rois (‘galet-day-r-wah’), otherwise known as the French King Cake, is a cake eaten every year during the festival of Epiphany.
And between the soft, flaky pastry encasing and almond custard filling, it’s impossible to resist.
The festival of Epiphany celebrates the arrival of the Three Kings.
So it’s commonly decorated with icing and has a trinket inside. Whoever discovers this trinket in their slice will be crowned the king (or queen!).
Quatre-Quarts (‘cat-truh-cah’) is a pound cake made with equal parts butter, sugar, eggs, and flour.
The name Quatre-Quarts literally translates to “four fourths.”
That’s for the four ingredients and the use of a rectangular pan for easy dividing into four pieces.
Enjoy this pound cake plain or dust with cocoa powder for an added flavor boost.
French yogurt cake is a light and delicious treat that never fails to impress.
The light sponge calls for eggs, yogurt, and flour. And while it’s pretty dense, it’s still super soft and moist.
Toppings such as seasonal berries or citrus zest add an extra level of flavor to this French classic.
24. Easy Opera Cake
French opera cake is a layer cake made with almond sponge, coffee-infused cream, and chocolate ganache.
And yes, it tastes as delicious as it looks.
The combination of silky ganache, soft cake, and intense coffee creates delightfully complex flavors.
If you’re looking for something special to satisfy your sweet tooth, French opera cake is definitely the way to go!
French chocolate cake is an extra special confection that’ll make your taste buds sing with glee.
It’s a delicious combination of rich, moist chocolate cake with a crisp outer crust.
Whether served cold or warm, French chocolate cake can make any occasion special with its rustic look and irresistible taste.
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